Animal Radio® Show #423 January 12, 2008


Ed Begley, Jr.
Going "Green" with Your Pets
Ed Begley first became aware of conservation growing up in smoggy Los Angeles. By the 1970 (and the First Earth Day) Ed decided that enough was enough and he decided to do something about it.

He is one of those people who doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walk. Literally.
One of the first actions Ed took himself was to become a vegetarian. "It just seemed like a good thing to do in 1970. But it was so hard back then that I was only a vegetarian for about a year. Then I started eating some fish because I couldn't find vegetarian food when I traveled. I'd do a movie in some distant city or even on location and they wouldn't have anything to eat," Ed explains. "I became a vegan again in 1992." And can you believe he actually has (and uses!) a Los Angeles bus pass! He also drives an electric car, lives in a solar powered home and recycles everything he can.

Ed currently has a 17-year-old dog and a 12-year-old cat. This, of course, doesn't include the feral cats that he regularly feeds. Ed traps and alters the feral cats that he can. But, trapping a feral cat can be a tough thing to do. Find out how Ed was able to trap one feline who eluded him for years!

Ed offers some great suggestions on how pet guardians can become environmentally friendly:

Besides his environmental lifestyle, Ed has also created some environmental friendly cleaning products, "Begley's Best," for you to use in your own home. He has created everything from an all-purpose cleaner to a carpet spot remover. To find out where you can find these products, visit You can also catch Ed on HGTV "Living with Ed," for more points on being "green."


Tippi Hedren
Animal Radio® hosts come to you live from the Shambala Preserve in Acton, California, where they had a chance to sit down and get personal with Tippi Hedren, the founder.

Tippi began her long love affair with wild animals in 1969 while doing a film, Satan's Harvest, in Africa. She "met" a mellow lion, and much of her life since then has been devoted to the big cats.

Her high desert animal preserve is home to the felines and pachyderms and was first established as an African-type set for the motion picture, Roar, which Tippi co-produced and starred in with her daughter, film actress Melanie Griffith. After the five-year filming was completed, it became the current, non-profit center for big cat care and research, named Shambala, which means a "meeting place of peace and harmony for all beings, animal and human."

Currently, over seventy animals live at Shambala ( - The Roar Foundation), including African lions, Siberian and Bengal tigers, leopards, servals, mountain lions, bobcats, a lynx, a Florida panther, a snow leopard, a cheetah, and more

Tippi discusses the myth that raising a baby tiger or lion will ensure that the animal will be tame the rest of its life. Unfortunately, this is how a lot of the animals end up at Shambala.

Tippi continues to work frequently in motion pictures, but considers her greatest success to be her efforts on behalf of the Wild Ones of Shambala. Saving abused and abandoned exotic animals has been her focus for more than two decades and recently saw the Bill (Captive Wildlife Safety Act) passed into law when signed by President George W. Bush.


Pocket Pets
Marc Morrone, "The Pet Shop
Perhaps you didn't get your child that cat or dog they wanted for Christmas because you felt that they were not ready for the responsibility. Marc Morrone returns once again to discuss pocket pets and how they make great starter pets for children.

Mark's first choice for children is gerbils. Because unlike Hamsters who are solitary creatures that sleep all day and are awake during the night, gerbils are actually awake during the day and sleep through the night. They also like companionship, which is great when you have two children. You can get two gerbils, a male and a female, or two same sexed gerbils from the same litter. They also need less room, and you can get away with having a 10-gallon cage for them.

Rats are also a great starter pet for children. However, they need more room, and you will need about a 20-30 gallon container. They are also very intelligent and require a little more stimulation than gerbils.

Mark states that reptiles are a little more care than gerbils and rats. They do not share our environment and will need a controlled environment with a regulated temperature. As a result, they are more fragile than gerbils and rats.

Whatever pet you decide for your child, make sure it is something you can and want to take of ­ because it is more than likely the parents (actually the mother) who will be doing all of the work!


Walking with Pets to Ease Arthritis
Christopher Michaels
When you ask yourself "how am I going to get more physical activity," you probably don't think of the family dog. But you should!

Sarah Reeve of the California Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation says your four-footed friend can help you "walk away" joint pain and arthritis. She states "walking your dog for half an hour or even ten minutes three times a day will help to significantly to reduce pain and stiffness. In addition, the walk is good for your dog too, because dogs also suffer from arthritis. So you're really doing two good things at once."

It can be tempting to rest instead of exercise to the let the pain subside and the stiffness to go away. But, doctors say that physical activity helps.

"If you and you dog go out for regular walks, the stiffness and joint paint may actually subside. This will help both of you to decrease further deterioration of bones and cartilage while also improving your ability to perform daily activities," states Sarah.

The Arthritis Foundation hosts hundreds of pet friendly arthritis walks around the country to fight the nation's number one cause of disability ­ arthritis.

For more information on the arthritis walk nearest you, log on to

The Fight to Save Tigers in a Land of Guns, Gold & Greed
Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, Life in the Valley of Death
Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, the "Indiana Jones of conservation science" is on a quest to try and save big cats. During this quest, he has endured a small-plane crash, a subdural hematoma, a bamboo punji stick trap stab through his left foot, a machete slash in Borneo, countless parasites and a near collision with a mountain in the Himalayan foothills of northern Myanmar. All of this trying to save a species that he is highly allergic to ­ but that doesn't stop him!

Dr. Rabinowitz has dedicated his life to saving these animals and his work in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) has led to the creation of the country's first marine national park, its first Himalayan national park, and a 2,500 square-mile wildlife sanctuary -- the nation's largest protected area.

Dr. Rabinowitz currently works at the Bronx Zoo, where he is the director for science and exploration for the Wildlife Conservation Society. However, he is planning on returning to Myanmar in February to further his work.

You can find out more about his life and his quest to save the tigers in his new book, Life in the Valley of Death.

NEWS UPDATE: Diamond Food Pays Millions in Settlement
Diamond Pet Food, a company that allowed contaminated pet food to hit store shelves that ultimately killed dozens of dogs nationwide, will pay $3.1 million in a settlement with pet owners.

Diamond Pet Food admitted that their South Carolina Plant produced pet food that contained a toxic mold, and that they never tested a shipment of tainted pet food in 2005.

They state that this mishap was not related to the pet food recall in 2006, which contained Melamine, a toxic chemical that was added in China.

NEWS UPDATE Brought To You By Simple Solution Natural Line Of Products


Every year we humans make a list of resolutions for the new year (which we very rarely keep!). So, it only seems fitting that our animals should do the same. Maybe they will be more successful than we are!

Here are the Top 5 Resolutions for our pets for 2008:

5. I will not eat other animals' poop.
4. I will not lick my human's face after eating animal poop.
3. I will no longer be beholden to the sound of the can opener.
2. I will take time from my busy schedule to stop and smell the behinds.
1. I will grow opposable thumbs; break into pantry; and decide for myself just how much food is too much.


Laika - Russian Rocket Dog
Rae Ann Kumelos, Voice of the Animal
Laika, a small dog from the streets of Moscow, captures-and breaks-the hearts of the world when, in 1957, she orbits the earth in Sputnik 2.

Deadly Diseases Might Come From Our Pets!
Dr. Jim Humphries, Veterinary News Network
We expect our pets to give us unconditional love and affection. But, can pets also put us in danger? From super bacteria to deadly viruses, it may seem that our pets are out to get us. The good news is that most of these diseases are completely preventable!

Recent reports of dogs harboring deadly staph bacteria as well as misconceptions about germs that can be spread by pets may prevent some families from keeping them. But how much of this is truth and how much is hype?

Any disease that can be transmitted from animals to people is considered to be a zoonotic disease. Literally, thousands of these diseases exist with several new ones found each year. But only a few are actually associated with our domestic pets. If you remove diseases that are spread by vectors, such as mosquitoes and ticks, the list you are left with would look like this:

This list may appear to be small, but among the members are some pretty serious diseases. Rabies, as is well known, is an invariably fatal disease. Vaccination protocols for our pets have reduced human rabies in the Western world, but more than 40,000 people die from rabies worldwide each year. Millions more are treated due to unknown animal bites and potential exposure. Leptospirosis, Salmonella, and the "super-bug", MRSA, are all bacterial diseases that can cause symptoms ranging from mild vomiting to kidney failure and even, rarely, death. At present, there has been no confirmed transmission of MRSA from pets to people.

More widespread are diseases caused by parasites, such as the common roundworms found in our puppies and kittens. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that more than 10,000 people in the US test positive for roundworms annually and more than 750 will partially lose their vision. Worse yet, the raccoon roundworm is becoming more common. As humans move into formerly wooded areas and raccoons adapt to tolerate an urban lifestyle, infection with this parasite may become more likely. Unlike the more ordinary canine roundworms, raccoon roundworms have been known to cause death in humans.

But, even combined, the numbers of people in the US and Canada affected by these diseases is a small fraction compared with the number of people who are injured by their pets. Dog bites, cat scratches, and horse-related injuries are far more common. According to the CDC, more than 4 million people are bitten by dogs annually and tens of thousands of people seek medical attention because of an injury associated with riding or working with horses.

So, what can be done to minimize the chances for illness or injuries that come about from owning pets? The simplest action is to simply follow a rule common to restaurants, schools, and your mother; always wash your hands. Routine, thorough hand washing has been shown to reduce incidence of many bacterial diseases, including the dreaded MRSA. In a similar fashion, teaching your children to wash after playing with the family dog or roaming the backyard will greatly diminish any possibility of picking up a nasty parasite, like roundworms.

Spend time with and ask questions of your veterinarian. She is your best resource for understanding zoonotic diseases and how best to avoid them. Vaccine protocols have greatly decreased many zoonotic diseases and similar strategic de-worming plans may help to stop zoonotic parasites as well. She may even be able to help you and your family understand the common warning signs that often precede dog and cat bites.

Don't allow unfounded fears to dictate your happiness with your four-legged friend. Educate yourself and learn from the source who knows you and your pet bestyour family veterinarian! Visit to watch a video giving you more tips on how to keep you and your whole family safe from disease.


"Playing Possum"
Britt Savage
They're furry, but then they have that long weird hairless tail and a pouch. They're opossums and they've been around since the dinosaurs.

They're North America's only marsupial, which means they're closer to a kangaroo than a raccoon. And unlike raccoons and skunks, they rarely carry rabies.

They have 50 teeth, the most teeth of any mammal, but they're actually pretty docile and would prefer to be left alone. When they get nervous, the "play possum" which is actually an involuntary coma where they get all-stiff and appear dead. Most predators leave them alone after that. And, if one gets into your home, you can get him out pretty easily with a trail of cat food.


Breed Specific Pet Food - Is it Really Necessary?
Dr. Marty Becker, Good Morning America
When we asked Dr. Marty Becker if breed specific food was necessary, he stated that there are some that can be beneficial to your pet.

And now, Royal Canin and Iams are making food for specific breeds of dogs and cats. At Royal Canin the details of each dog breed's unique physiology impact the formula for every one of their breed-specific diets. Not just protein, fat and nutrient levels, but kibble shape, kibble texture and more.

There are breed-specific foods for boxers, bulldogs, Chihuahuas, dachshund, German shepherds, Golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, poodles, Shih Tzus and Yorkshire terriers.

For example, Golden Retriever 25, launched in October 2007, supports and protects the health and longevity of adult and mature Golden retriever dogs. Sensitive skin, a tendency to gain weight and cardiac disease are three common problems cited by owners. A larger, less dense kibble also encourages slower food intake and results in greater satiety.

And let's not forget breed specific foods for cats. There is a food for Siamese cats that will actually enhance their color and a specific food for Persians that are almond shaped, making it more palatable for their pushed-in face, which also includes a hairball remedy for the longhaired cats.

Humans are the ones who decided that dogs should be feed in bowls, not dogs! Even though this next food is not breed specific, it will appeal to your dog's "inner wolf" with no bowl required.

Rather than feeding your dog dry kibble or canned dog food, you feed a biometrically designed, single-piece meal from WholeMeals Brand Food for Dogs (a bone shaped in four different sizes, that has a chewy exterior and a dense, meaty interior) that not only meets a dog's nutritional needs; it also addresses a dog's physiology, instincts and enjoyment.

As an added bonus, dogs fed an exclusive diet of WholeMeals over the course of four weeks had a 43 percent reduction in plaque accumulation and an 83 percent reduction on tartar buildup. Think of this as an "edible toothbrush."


Listen to the entire Podcast of this show (#423).

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